mick narusch

VP, Practice Development

COVID-19 brought a lot of disruption into the job market. But one of the biggest disruptions was shattering the illusion that there’s such a thing as job security. 

The economy can take a downturn at any point. When that happens, companies will do whatever they can to stay afloat, and that often means letting go of personnel. 

When you realize that, a natural question comes up: why am I staying at this full time gig anyway?


Contracting in the Modern Economy


In the modern economy, contract work is just as reputable a career path as traditional employment; not just for the employee, but the employer as well:  

  • Lower costs to train and onboard, as well as fewer fringe benefits
  • The ability to test a candidate in a short time frame before making a full-time offer
  • Flexibility (on both sides of the equation)
  • Willingness to take a risk on a candidate who aspires to a higher position, to see whether they can grow into the role

Unfortunately, the benefits to you, the employee, are often obfuscated by some common myths surrounding contract work.

So in this article, we’re going to take the time to do some mythbusting. Let’s take four common misconceptions about contractor employment, and show you what the truth is actually like. 


Myth #1: Contracting is just for entry-level employees.


A number of companies use contracting or contract-to-hire as a way to test out entry-level employees before offering them a full-time role. Because of this, contracting sometimes has a reputation of being an exclusively entry-level option. 

But entry-level contractors make up only a segment of the broader contractor community. In fact, it’s common in many industries like IT, automotive, finance, and more for employers to look for experienced contractors with deep expertise, and even leadership experience. 

The major reason for that is: these firms engage in projects that are temporary in nature. They may need an experienced engineer to come in for 12 months to shepherd a project through to conclusion, but can’t guarantee more work after that. 

On top of that, experienced contractors generally get paid a higher hourly rate than a full-time employee, plus you have the potential to work overtime. So the financial bottom-line could be really beneficial to you. 

This is why it’s important to judge each opportunity by the specific role, company, and day-to-day work you’ll be asked to do, not whether it’s contract or full-time. 


Myth #2: Contract work is inherently unstable.


This myth stems from the idea that full-time employment provides more job security than a contract position. Unfortunately, this isn’t the case, especially considering that most full-time employment roles are entirely “at-will.” 

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the average tenure of a full-time employee in a given job was 4.1 years, as of January 2020. Given the massive hits that companies took post pandemic, we can probably safely assume that this number is much lower now. 

And according to our own research here at Brightwing, 54% of the professionals we surveyed believe that job security is either rare or a myth entirely. 

The point is: a full-time role isn’t going to provide the long-term security that you’re looking for necessarily. So that’s really not a compelling reason to discount it entirely. 

On top of that, a lot of big companies use contracting as a way to test potential hires before offering them a full-time role. In those cases, taking a contract position is your surest path to a long-term career at that company. 

But even if you don’t end up going into a full-time position, that doesn’t mean that your income is going to be in a constant state of flux. We’ve worked with a number of contractors who’ve spent 20+ years working with Brightwing, whether that’s been with recurring projects at a single employer, or working with a number of employers over those years.


Myth #3: Contracting won’t move your career forward.


Because most people refer to full-time employment as “career” positions, there’s an unfair assumption that contracting roles are the opposite.

Nothing could be further from the truth. 

In fact, contracting could present an incredible opportunity to enhance your current capabilities:

  • Depth of experience. Contract roles are often more focused and project-specific than full-time roles, allowing you to focus on building skills in one specific area. 
  • Breadth of experience. When you work in a variety of contract roles over time, you can build up different experiences that you wouldn’t get if you stayed in a full-time position.  
  • Repositioning. You may have an array of experience within your particular sector, but maybe you want to take a different role than the one where you currently have experience. Taking a contract position can help you upskill and reposition your career without having to take a step back. 

Most of the time, big brands won’t hire you unless you have experience working for another big brand. If you lack that experience, your entry into that role will almost certainly have to come through a contract position.

In that case, jumping on board as a contractor will certainly be a step forward, rather than a step back. 


Myth #4: Contracting means you’re all on your own. 


This is probably the myth that gets us the most fired up, because it hits close to home. 

Just because you take a contract position doesn’t mean that you’re left without anyone to support you. In fact, that’s exactly why Brightwing is here to help. 

We serve as a trusted partner to help you become successful in your contracting career:

  • We screen potential opportunities to make sure they’re a good fit
  • We negotiate on your behalf to the client to get you the best possible rate
  • We provide highly competitive benefits, as if you were our full-time employee
  • We are constantly on the lookout for new opportunities before your current contract is up, so you shouldn’t have any gaps

With a trusted partner like Brightwing, you’re bound to be successful in whatever role you take next. All you have to do is go for it. 

let’s talk